Bob Leenstra’s One-of-17 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda
Bob Leenstra knows his one-of-17 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda convertible is ultra-rare. Add on a documented history of Super Stock drag racing and it resides in the land of ultimate Mopar scarcity and desirability.
Bob’s ’Cuda is a 440 Six Pack car with a four-speed manual transmission. For collector context, let’s check the numbers. In addition to being one of just 17 440 Six Pack convertibles, the car is only one of three with a Shaker hood and just one of five with the four-speed transmission.
Digging deeper, this is just one of one ‘Cuda convertibles campaigned by iconic Northwest Super Stock driver Dave Wren, who passed just recently. The factory-backed Wren raced a ’70 Barracuda hardtop but switched to the ’71 convertible in 1971. He raced the convertible in its original Tor-Red paint with a white top in 1971 and 1972, finishing second at the 1972 Winternationals. The white graphics on the rear quarters were returned to the car during its restoration.
The ’Cuda is restored to as-delivered condition. Before Bob acquired the car this past spring, it had been owned by a noted Mopar collector for more than 30 years. When Wren received the car back in 1971, he pulled the 440 engine and replaced it with a Hemi for drag racing. What happened to the original 440 power plant is one of those mysteries that keep Mopar fans scouring the internet.
Built to be raced, the ‘Cuda has all the right stuff for its intended mission: performance, not comfort. For example, the interior is all black, from the padded dash to the vinyl seats and carpet. The gauge cluster is the basic unit. Radio? Nope. Console? Not necessary.
The important stuff is under the hood and under the car. The period-correct 390-horsepower 440 is topped by three Holley two-barrel carbs and an optional Shaker hood. Ignition comes from a Chrysler dual-point distributor. High-performance factory exhaust manifolds feed a dual exhaust system. A Hurst pistol-grip shifter guides the A8333 four-speed transmission. The Dana 60 rearend houses 3.54 gears. Drum brakes on all four corners support factory 15-inch Rallye wheels wrapped in reproduction Goodyear Polyglas tires.
What makes Bob’s 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda more significant is that in an era when many Super Stockers were sold off when a newer model arrived, Wren retired the car before selling it in the late-’80s. That decision helped assure the car’s survival for more than 50 years.
Photos by John Jackson